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Decreasing Delinquency, Criminal Behavior, and Recidivism by Intervening on Psychological Factors Other than Cognitive Ability: A Review of the Intervention Literature

  • Patrick L. Hill
  • Brent W. Roberts
  • Jeffrey T. Grogger
  • Jonathan Guryan
  • Karen Sixkiller

Research on the causes of delinquency has a long research history, often with an undue focus on how cognitive ability serves as the main predictor of delinquent activity. The current review examines interventions that focus on psychological factors other than cognitive ability, and discusses how several of these programs have demonstrated efficacy in reducing delinquent behavior. Our review uncovers certain themes shared by a number of effective interventions. First, these interventions tend to emphasize rigorous and consistent implementation. Second, effective interventions often incorporate the family environment. Third, several effective interventions have focused on promoting adaptive social skills. In conclusion, our review discusses the possibility that these interventions have proven efficacious in part because they promote adaptive personality trait development.

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File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w16698.pdf
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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 16698.

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Date of creation: Jan 2011
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Publication status: published as Decreasing Delinquency, Criminal Behavior, and Recidivism by Intervening on Psychological Factors Other Than Cognitive Ability: A Review of the Intervention Literature , Patrick L. Hill, Brent W. Roberts, Jeffrey T. Grogger, Jonathan Guryan, Karen Sixkiller. in Controlling Crime: Strategies and Tradeoffs , Cook, Ludwig, and McCrary. 2011
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:16698
Note: LE
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  1. Cunha, Flavio & Heckman, James J., 2009. "The Economics and Psychology of Inequality and Human Development," IZA Discussion Papers 4001, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  2. MacKenzie, Doris Layton & Parent, Dale G., 1991. "Shock incarceration and prison crowding in Louisiana," Journal of Criminal Justice, Elsevier, vol. 19(3), pages 225-237.
  3. Borghans, Lex & Duckworth, Angela Lee & Heckman, James J. & ter Weel, Bas, 2008. "The Economics and Psychology of Personality Traits," IZA Discussion Papers 3333, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  4. Flavio Cunha & James Heckman & Susanne Schennach, 2010. "Estimating the Technology of Cognitive and Noncognitive Skill Formation," NBER Working Papers 15664, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. James J. Heckman & Jora Stixrud & Sergio Urzua, 2006. "The Effects of Cognitive and Noncognitive Abilities on Labor Market Outcomes and Social Behavior," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 24(3), pages 411-482, July.
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